Natomas Neighborhood Watch Program Helps Reduce Crime

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, October 20, 2008

Not too long ago, says North Natomas resident Rob Wurgler, a neighbor saw someone who looked a bit suspicious.
Wurgler: “Somebody just wrote down a license plate; they thought something was weird; there was some weird activity; and it turns out it was, he was a burglar, and the police – from what I heard – never would have caught that guy if they hadn’t had that information that that neighbor had written down, and they did catch the guy.” 
That’s hardly the only example, says Sacramento Police Captain Daniel Hahn.  He says burglaries, stolen cars and some other crimes have gone down in Natomas.  That’s for this September, compared to last year, and all of 2008 to date.  And he says the new neighborhood watch program deserves a lot of credit.
Hahn: “We’ve seen neighbors calling in on burglars; we’ve seen neighbors chasing burglars; we’ve seen neighbors and community members providing information to the police department.  And I think all of that is the only way you get crime to go down and continue to make our community safe.” 
The communication flows both ways.  Police and residents are joining email lists and posting on blogs.  Hahn regularly sends an officer to community meetings, or attends himself.  And sometimes, when a family goes on vacation, their neighbors will park a car in the driveway, so it looks like somebody’s home.  Rob Wurgler credits Hahn and Police Chief Rick Braziel for their willingness to work with residents.
Wurgler: “It’s encouraging that we’re seeing this crime go down.  Some people don’t feel it.  It’s hard to notice; it’s subtle.  But it’s there.” 
Still, Wurgler and others in Natomas are painfully aware of Sacramento’s financial problems – and the resultant cuts to public safety.  Even with the drop in crime, residents want more cops on the streets – and as far as Wurgler’s concerned, he’s willing to sacrifice funds for parks, libraries and roads if that’s what it takes.